By REBECCA KUKU
HEALTH secretary Pascoe Kase told the PAC that he was surprised the contract to procure and supply medicines was awarded to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceutical Ltd (BPPL) in 2014.
“After going through the documents, I was surprised to see BPPL was awarded the contract and not City Pharmacy Ltd (CPL) who had bid in partnership with MissionPharma.
“The NDoH recommended CPL in partnership with MissionPharma as its first recommendation and BPPL as second. We sent our recommendations to the Central Supplies Tender Board (CSTB) and it did their own recommendations to the Government,” he added.
Kase denied knowing why CSTB changed the recommendations.
However, PAC chairman Sir John Pundari told Kase that the committee had copies of letters that showed that the recommendations were changed in a decision that was made with the then Health Minister Michael Malabag and Kase.
Sir John said that following the awarding of the contract, CPL wrote to Malabag asking him to stop the contract and conduct an investigation to establish if the contract was awarded through the right process. “Malabag responded to them.
“In fact, the letter from Malabag was written by yourself, secretary Kase,” he said.
Kase said that he would check his records and present his findings at the next inquiry hearing.
BPPL chairman Sir Martin Poh said: “Our bidding price are the lowest.”
The PAC had asked Sir Martin to comment on a independent report that found that the prices to procure medicines and pharmaceutical drugs had a 200 per cent mark up.
Sir Martin said: “Our prices compared to others were the lowest.
“BPPL has been in the country since 1997 and we are now 22 years old. “Before coming to Papua New Guinea, we operated in Malaysia for 15 years and so we have the experience in procuring medicines and drugs.
“All medicines and drugs we procure have certification from the manufacturers.”
He added that 80 per cent of his company’s annual revenue was made from government contracts with the NDoH.
“And I deny that we charge 200 per cent mark up on medicines and pharmaceutical drugs that we procure,” he said. The inquiry was adjourned to Monday.
By REBECCA KUKU